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From the Publisher"Four decades ago Alex George performed a significant service by developing the 'operational code' construct as a means of better understanding the politically-relevant beliefs of foreign policy officials. Steve Walker and Mark Schafer led a second wave of important methodological and empirical studies that not only demonstrated the value of the operational code construct, but also developed such significant steps as a system of computer content analysis. In this essential volume, Walker, Schafer, and their colleagues make a compelling case that leaders' beliefs—specifically those encompassed in the operational code—are indeed an important component of world politics, and they demonstrate that in an impressive range of domains."
—Ole Holsti, George V. Allen Professor Emeritus, Duke University
"This collection of thoughtful essays proves that operational-code scholarship represents one of the most durable and successful research programs in political psychology — a program readily adaptable to the study of topics as varied as international terrorists and central bankers. The authors have performed valuable community service."
—Philip Tetlock, Mitchell Professor of Organizational Behavior, University of
"Beliefs and Leadership in World Politics is the best current application of operational code analysis to issues of international relations. Schafer and Walker show political actors whose beliefs are expressed rhetorically, both reflecting the international world and producing effects in it. The studies in the book include national leaders from Britain, China, Russia, and the United States as well as non-governmental actors such as terrorists. There are snapshot comparisons of different leaders as well as studies of strategic interactions over time as they wrestle with problems of war and peace, international crises, economic sanctions, trade and high finance. This book is a major contribution to our understanding of the way that individual agents' thoughts, words, and behavior work together in the global political network."
— Francis A. Beer, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado
"Beliefs and Leadership in World Politics provides an invaluable resource to scholars and students of leadership and elite decision making. Coming from a psychological perspective, Walker, Schafer, and colleagues have developed a rigorous, theoretically motivated, yet accessible method for analyzing "leaders at a distance," using the VICS system for content analysis of speeches or other textual material. In addition to several rich applications of VICS to historical cases, this research program includes an innovative marriage of psychology and game theory, which culminates in an agent-based model of sequential elite decision making. In short, this book will be of great interest to a wide range of scholars interested in how leaders make decisions."
—Charles S. Taber, Stony Brook University